a meeting of the minds
A Meeting Of The Minds
The Lord cursed the sky realizing his plan had failed, he would have to take matters into his now and find a way to control the three horrors in town. That silver menace, and that wretched moose ruined everything, saving the day. Lord Schafer treasured his daughter above all others, her death would make his revenge all the more sweeter.
His plan was complicated by the man in Silver, the appearance of the Mountie, and the witch hunter. His sources from around the city said they now worked together and had gathered in the Sam Steele Cafe. Thankfully he had found the means to bring the slave trade back to life. He would descend upon Ottowa and teach those liberals a lesson...
At the Sam Steele Cafe...
The owner stared at the moose towering over his front window, from inside the Steele Cafe. Named for the man with Chiseled features, wearing the Mountie uniform, and the well-groomed mustache. He had papers out and was writing something down. His hat was sitting next to him on the empty chair. Next to him was a well-dressed man in a strange long coat, armored on the cuffs and shoulders. He carried a doctors bag, and seemed like a useful sort.
The man with the black mask and lightning bolt down the center, with the silver armored duster, worried him. Where did he get the US Marshals hat? Was he American? The two gentlemen came on a horse. The man in the mask came on a hideously scarred moose the size of a stagecoach. If it were not for the Legendary Sam Steele he would never have entertained the man in the first place. He had caught his name Silverbolt, a ridiculous moniker if he ever heard one.
Elias Troyer glared at the man in the mask, “I am not working with this useless ruffian, that gargantuan beast outside is of more use than he is. He must be a witch to control such a beast”, he said as he took a sip of the coffee, and spit it out, “Dear lord this tea is hideous”, he said wiping his mouth.
Silverbolt lifted the mask just enough to drink the black liquid, all that could be seen is his short hair, the shadows of the mask disguised the color. The bright silver-grey eyes rested angrily on Elias, his hand hit the table, “Let us take this outside then Elias, I will teach you to fear the thunder and flash of Silverbolt, you Nancy-boy”
Sam Steele growled low in his throat, “Enough both of you name calling and accusations will not help us win this fight. Maybe I am no expert on the stranger side of life, but more will die if we do not stop squabbling among ourselves”, he paused to put his letter to the side, “Now Elias, what makes you believe our silver friend here is a witch?” he asked calmly, holding his hand up for Silverbolt to hold his silence.
Elias sighed as the Bald cafe owner brought him some tea. He accepted it and took a sip, “He is not human, how could possibly best such a creature” he said pointing at the moose.
Deadhooves stared at the man pointing at him angrily, he would take it from the silver fur, and the one with the funny facial fur, but not from him. He banged his antlers against the window.
Sam Steele lowered the hand of Elias, “My good man, are the tales about me no less fantastic? A moose is a difficult creature to best in combat, but I assure you it is far from impossible. Clearly, our oddly dressed friend here is more clever than he appears”, Sam Steele said gesturing to Silverbolt, before closing his ink jar.
Silverbolt set his marshals hat down, and produced the masonic blade, “I found this under a broken chair in the ball room. Its masonic, I should know my dad was a Mason...where...I am from”, he trailed of as the reality of being a traveller through time hit him. He had to be careful with how he interacted with people, lest he do something catastrophic by accident.
Elias looked at it, “I have heard of this accursed thing, a Free Mason sought to power devices with spirtual energy, but something went wrong...”
Silverbolt was not paying attention, his mind had drifted to Lady Clara, he had been seeing the bright glittering emerald eyes full of intelligence and curiosity since he met the damn girl. What was her interest, and why did she have to be so argumentative? Why was he wasting his time on her? “Grrr” he growled and walked outside.
It was drizzling outside, although that was normal for this area. The sky was in a state of perpetual gray, the sun would shine through once in a while. He welcomed the light pitter-patter against the mask.
He looked up at Deadhooves and stroked his large snout, “I wonder how many females looked for you during the rutting season. I am a lot of things, I never pictured myself with anyone, or even leading a full life. I chose this path, now I wonder how much has passed me by”, he said leaning against the railing watching the carriages go about their business.
Deadhooves tolerated the silver creature and his chicken like clucking, mostly because it leads to filling his stomach, he was always interested in that. If you were expecting something profound, read Plato, not a moose's mind.
He heard the click of boots behind him, and creak of leather as Sam Steele leaned against the railing next to Silverbolt. He clasped his gloved hands in front of him. “Tell me something Silverbolt, what weighs so heavily on your mind?” he asked looking over at him.
Silverbolt felt dumb, “I do not want you to laugh, I mean you are a man among men and all that,” he said stroking the great moose again. Why was this so hard to admit, least of all to himself?
Sam Steele “Horse turds young man. At one time I was like a newborn fawn, struggling to find my legs. However we must deal with this problem, lest it distracts you in combat yes?”, he asked gently, patting him on the shoulder in a fatherly fashion.
Silverbolt realized he had two secrets to let go before he could be vindicated in his own eyes. The first was quite fantastic, the other was older than time. He reached into his pocket and palmed the smartphone. “If I told you something do I have your word as a Mountie, you will keep it to yourself?”
Sam gave him that steely gaze and nodded, “On my honor young man, now out with it, you have mastered the art of suspense. I await your words”, he said with a wry grin. He said leaning sideways to face him now.
Silverbolt took a deep breath, and pressed the power button on the smartphone, “I am not from this time, this is a telephone. I came from a hundred and some odd years from the future, just a freak accident. You are the first person I have told”, he knew the word of Sam Steele was one he could count on. Elias would probably destroy the thing, or maybe he would try to give God a collect call.
Sam steel looked at the phone in wonder, “The invention of that Bell fellow will lead to this? By the great Rocky Mountains, this is truly a wonder. Does Canada still stand in your time?”, he asked as Silverbolt showed the legend how it worked.
He nodded, “Indeed it does, we are country of peace and tolerance. Unfortunately, I can't tell you much more, messing with the wrong events could drastically change the future. I want you to know you will be remembered as a true and upright man. Your Mounties will become the main police force of this country”, he said as he showed Sam how to play candy crush.
Sam put it down, “I am relieved my work lives on”, he glared at the smartphone, “Such a thing cannot be healthy for the mind, to distract oneself from more useful ends is unseemly” he paused to lean once more against the railing, and then faced his silvery friend once more, “I can tell you have something else on your mind, so out with it”, he said
Silverbolt found this particular bit of truth the hardest to say, “Well you will remember I was talking about Voidsong, that sharp-elbowed horror. I felt something for this Lady Clara, and I could tell she liked me. My position dictates I can't do anything about it, though the attraction was undeniable”
Sam Steele gave Silverbolt a look at approval, and patted him on the back, “I know Lord Schafer and I assure you he would be against the match. However, Lady Clara is a strong-willed woman, and women like her tend to pursue their chosen mates with the ferocity of a lion. I am also glad you have given your position serious weight...”, he trailed off
Elias came outside with them, which is why Sam had trailed off, “Are you guys plotting against me? You have been outside for some time”, he said shifting his Homburg
Silverbolt shook his head, “No I needed to get some personal matters off my mind before they got us killed”, he looked Elias, as he patted Deadhooves snout, “Did you find something?”
Elias showed him the previous days paper, his finger pointing at a particular article, “I was looking at the paper and I realized they didn't name any of the slain. Not a single one. I just find it strange that no one claimed the bodies, or identified them” he said rolling it up and tucking it under his arm.
Sam Steele nodded, and stroked his mustache, “Yes it is a rather suspicious turn of events. We should split up. I will talk to the police. I walked in on the police slacking, I never thought there might be a reasonable explanation. I just assumed with the appearance of Barghest the amarock, he was to blame”, he turned to Troyer, “Elias could you check with Mr. Alexander of the Vancouver Herald, see what he knows. There has to be a reason why he thought there was a murder”, he faced Silverbolt, “You are going to hate me, I want you to return to Schafer Manor. Lord Schafer has quite the collection of occult books, perhaps you can figure out how three evil creatures just happened to come here at the same time” he said as Silverbolt scowled at him.
Elias glared at Sam Steele, “What gives you the right to order us around...”, he stopped due to the galvanizing stare of the living legend.
“Young man, you couldn't find your posterior with a map and a compass. I am leading because I have the experience to do so. It is wise to investigate so we may get a clearer picture of what is going on. I have made these decisions based on who is best for the job”, Sam Steele, said hands behind his back, tone filled with authority, and his eyes remained on Elias, causing him mass discomfort.
Elias looked a Silverbolt, “Are you going to take this from him?”, he asked the armor-clad man.
Silverbolt leaped on the back of Deadhooves, “Look I agree with him, he has made sensible choices, I know the occult is your thing, but I know Lady Clara, and I assure you I would rather be doing anything else”, he said as the moose groaned and started walking away.
Sam Steele had forgotten something, “We all should be back here by midday”, he shouted Silverbolt raised his hand in understanding, as he and Deadhooves plodded off in the distance.
Vancouver City Police Station...
Sam Steele pulled the boarded up door open and walked in, the officers of the city all stopped talking. They stared at the living legend, and in unison, they all saluted. Sam Steele returned the gesture, clasped his hands behind his back, “Good morning gentleman, is Chief Mclaren in?”, he asked politely
A lanky officer nodded and motioned for Sam to follow him, he knocked on the door to the office, “Sir, Samuel Steele is here to see you”, he said
A male voice echoed from behind the door of the makeshift headquarters, “Send him in, I know what this is about”, Chief Mclaren said.
The lanky officer saluted and headed back to his desk, Sam Steele opened the door, as it squeaked on its hinges. “Police Chief McLaren, I presume?” he asked
The man with the handlebar mustache, fancy uniform, wearing reading glasses looked up from the mountain of files, and paperwork. His English style Bobby hat was sitting next to on the corner. He rose to his full height, “I heard there was some rather unusual excitement here last night, thank you for saving the lives of my men”, he said honestly, shaking the hand of the living legend.
Sam Steele smiled, “I have endured worse in the wilds of Ontario. I am not here about the creature, rather I am interested in these supposed murders. Why have the victims not been identified?” he asked as he took a seat at the opposite side of the desk.
McLaren nodded, as he regained his seat, “Yes about that, the Herald will be printing a retraction, they are not murders, but grave robbings”, he said looking through the files.
Samuel Steele stroked his mustache in deep thought, “Grave robbings you say, a pointless act if you ask me. This city has not seen many deaths in the upper or has that many wealthy residents. It seems like a lot of work to dig people up and walk away empty-handed” he asked the chief who was still looking through his desk.
Mclaren nodded as he shuffled papers around, “I am sorry for this mess, Chief Stewart left rather suddenly and left everything in disarray”, he said as continued to look through the papers, “Honestly people are flocking to this city in search of opportunity, it was only natural the crime rate would rise, and we only have so many men. Yet he had no words...” he trailed off, “Sorry, I would agree it was strange had we not found something else at the crime scene”, he said holding the file aloft in victory as if God himself had a hand in finding it.
Sam Steele was intrigued now, “Something you else say? May I be privy to that information?”, he asked eagerly.
McLaren laughed, “To work with Samuel Steele, would be an honor”, he said handing him the file.
Samuel Steele opened it and started reading it, There were drawings of markings reminiscent of weathervanes with odd lettering and skulls, “These symbols seem tribal in nature, but not tribes around here” he paused to make sure he understood what he was reading, “Is this correct the coroner died of poison. Why on earth would anyone put poison on a body...” He paused again this, time because he remembered something. “If you will excuse me I need to send a telegram,” he said hurrying out the door.
When he sent the telegram he perused the file in depth, and what he discovered was most worrisome.
Meanwhile at Vancouver Herald office...
Mr. Alexander had just finished his morning staff meeting, the Herald was going under and her needed a way to revive it. He had just started thinking on this subject, only to be interrupted by the man with the doctor's bag, and to be honest he had been feeling poorly. “Is there something I can do for you, Doctor?”, he asked as he sniffled
Elias nodded, “Yes, my name is Elias Troyer, and I am working with Sam Steele. He sent me here to ask why you did not name the dead in the recent killings?”, he said calmly as he took, Mr. Alexanders pulse.
Mr. Alexander allowed this to happen, “We are going to be printing a retraction, an investigation the police conducted, proved it was grave robbing. The mouths of the bodies were sewn shut, no organs were taken, nor were their clothes. Nothing of value was taken either. They had odd paint on them, and curious markings, the police have them. They did find some kind of salt at the scenes”
Elias nodded, as he asked Mr. Alexancer to open his mouth, “Ahhh your tonsils are swollen my good man, I would go to a doctor and speak with them about it”, he paused and wrote something on piece of paper, “What kind of markings?” he asked, “This paper should get you the medicine you need by the way”, he said handing the small slip to him.
Mr. Alexander smiled, “Thank you, and I never got to see them, Mclaren promised me first crack at them. I never got to see them. Say what you want, but he is a better chief than Stewart was. It was the first time they were really hush-hush about a crime”, he said as he took the paper.
“Have you heard anything else?”, Elias asked with interest, it was strange for officers to close ranks on a grave robbing case. Those often went public to discourage further incidents.
Mr. Alexander nodded, “Lord Agustus Caligula is in town, he is here to speak out against the abolition movement. He believes slavery should once again be the status quo. He was an enemy of Lord Schafer...”, he started to say
Elisas made the connection right away, “Strange did you hear about the incident at Schafer manner?”, he asked as he continued to the look the man over. It dawned on him that he had just given a reporter, a reason to go investigate what they were doing.
Mr. Alexander nodded, “Indeed I did, I am still putting the pieces together. It sounds like a fellow wearing quite the elaborate disguise, was bent on killing Lady Clara, she was then saved by a man riding a giant moose, or at least that is what a servant told me. He sometimes gives me information. ” he said chuckling, “Truth is stranger than fiction as they say”, he added
Elias decided to probe further in to this Lord Caligula matter, “So where did Lord Caligula arrive from?”, he asked aware that Mr. Alexander had not bathed in a while now.
Mr. Alexander grinned, and lit up his pipe with a match. Elias Glared at him, “Yes I am aware this is not good for my throat Dr. Troyer”, He said as a noxious cloud of smoke billowed out his mouth, filling the air with the scent of cherries, “I heard he was all over Europe looking for priceless artifacts. Men on the docks spoke of an enormous crate, that rattles every so often, as if what is in there is alive.
Elias wrote everything down, and thanked Mr. Alexander and headed out to the cafe.
Mr. Alexander smiled, something was going on at that estate and he intended to find out what.
Silverbolt, and Deadhooves, (Kill count 12), entered the gate of Schafer Manor, after someone dressed in a ridiculous outfit and hose, demanded he shows proof of his station. Deadhooves lowered his head and pawed the ground, ready to charge, and suddenly silly things like station didn't matter anymore.
This time Silverbolt left his large and hairy companion outside. Not that it wouldn't be fun to ride the moose through the house again, but there was more for him to eat outside. There was an incident with a boater hat. To which the man was ready to fight until he saw the big beast, and then thought better of the notion.
He climbed the marble steps and walked through the doors. The servants remembered him and were quite accommodating. The fussed over him, dusting him off. Then one dared touch his mask.
Silverbolt grabbed his thumb and twisted it, there was the sound of the servant's knees hitting the floor, he looked down and the ridiculously dressed man, “Now you and your friends are going to back off, this mask is on for a reason and it goes beyond my identity. Thank you for freshening me up, but next time I will break it understand?”, he said mildly, looking down at the man, who nodded.
A servant comes down the stairs, “Mr. Silverbolt, Lady Clara will be along shortly. She heard you were here and felt the need to change”, he said elbowing him playfully, clicking his tongue.
Silverbolt was rather annoyed by the whole thing, “I am not here for pleasure, I am here to collect on a favor she owes me”, he said shoving the man to arms distance, “What is with you dudes, and personal space issues? I can take care of myself”, he said shaking his head.
The servant just nodded, “This is habit Mr. Silverbolt, we are here to serve, my family has been serving her family for years, and we enjoy their confidence, and proud to keep their secrets”, he paused, “Dudes?”, his face was a little bewildered.
Silverbolt remembered this was not a common phrase, and shook his head, “You got some coffee? I haven't slept yet, and I could use the pick me up” he asked, as he started to relax.
A man came running into the house, he was wearing dirty coveralls, and a straw hat. His face had soil on it. “Master Gerard, Master Gerard, there is a big offensive creature eating the prize flowers I demand we shoot it at once, and be rid of the menace before nothing is left of my beautiful gardens”, he said, in a panicked tone, as he waved his arms.
Silverbolt laughed, “Do you have a gun big enough to kill it? For the record that big hairy menace, is my mount” he said, as his silvery gray eyes stared into the angry browns of the gardener.
Gerard laughed, “They are flowers and they will grow back. Mr. Silverbolt is a guest of Lady Clara's and I will not have you ruining her evening with your incessant prattle”, he said backing the silver-clad guest.
The Gardner grunted, “Who keeps a moose as a pet in the first place?”, he asked as he pointed a dirty finger at Silverbolt. His face demanded the hero do something about his unruly companion. “Well I had to run from him, and then he chased me all the way to a Tenneh village. I had to fight the creature, damn near got killed, but I managed to knock him out”, he paused as the gardener stared at him, “I would leave him alone, he has killed twelve people. He may like me, but he will kill you if you give him cause”, Silverbolt said conversationally.
The gardener growled and walked away in a huff, while Gerard laughed until he was doubled over, “Mr. Silverbolt, you are most droll, and witty. I can see why Lady Clara is so smitten with you. She was so angry you left her wanting more of your company”, he said trying to compose himself, before laughing again.
Lady Clara Schafer came down the stairs, Her deep green dress suited her well, and she was wearing her finest jewelry, with her hair in ringlets, giving a girlish look. She wore a shawl to keep her shoulders warm. Her heart was all a flutter with her silvery object of affection, in the room. She wanted nothing more than to hold him close and speak from her heart. Though his words were like the hammer of a blacksmith, very blunt. She sashayed up to him as she opened the fan in a flirty pose, batting her eyes in obvious affection.
Silverbolt watched her and wondered why she was batting her eyes like that, it was possible she was having a stroke, and at such a young age. He was not sure what the fan was for either, but she was covering her face, and had no right to judge her for that, “Lady Clara, thank you for seeing me on such short notice”, he said awkwardly.
She held out her hand, “It is a pleasure to see you again Mr. Silverbolt. I was hoping you would return so we may get to know one another more”, She said smiling radiantly, her eyes filled with affection.
Silverbolt realized he had to nip this in the bud before something serious happened and history was changed. He wanted to give in, but the future had to come first, “Look I am married, well I am not sure the legality of it...”
Lady Clara glared at him with anger, “Excuse me? You will explain at once”, her face was contorted in that death-like statre and her face contorted into the most vengeful scowl. She had a severe look about her. Her hands were on her hips, and she was leaning over her face was next to his.
Silverbolt put his mask into his hands wishing he had kept his mouth shut. What he just said was screwing with his day. One sentence threatened, to ruin the whole reason he came here. He decided to explain when he had reached the end, “...the Vow was left hanging in the air, and I think I was tricked...” he said but was cut off.
Lady Clara Schafer was all ablaze with anger as she hit the closed fan upon her palm, her face filled with determination, “I will deal with this Isis Atwood, in due course, such tricks only prove she has the wiles and charm of a harlot”, her voice dripping with venom. “Once she is disposed of, you and I will be wedded properly, and I shall never want again”, she said gently touch his mask.
Silverbolt hung his head in frustration, and clenched his fists in anger for a moment, before he spoke, “Yeah I am here to call in the favor you owe me. Nothing personal but Sam Steele asked me to come, and have a look through your father's occult books”, he said trying to avoid that look in her eyes.
She came to the “A man of your considerable talents need not dabble in the arts of the void, the art of romance has far greater rewards...”, she said placing her arms around his neck.
Silverbolt felt hot under the mask and was dying to get away from the woman. She was threatening to undo everything. He had little choice, “I need to speak with you privately, this can't happen no matter how badly I want it too, and it's not because I am not attracted to you”, he said to her.
She took him to an empty room and locked the door, “Please explain yourself, or I shall lock you up until you do”, she said in a serious tone. Once again it the fan hit her open palm over and over.
He pulled out the smartphone, and powered it on, he went into music. He chose a gangster rap song, and pressed play, “I am from the future, about a hundred and twenty years give or take. I can't be with you or else it could undo the future. This is a phone, it is just starting to gain popularity now but it will be huge, and I advise that you keep that to yourself”, he said seriously
She looked crestfallen, “Are you sure you are not here to stay? Can you not return to your own time? To know my heart desires you, and that it cannot be, is such cruelty. This music is rather catchy”, she said as he turned it the phone off.
He was a little disappointed himself, “Yeah listen if it turns out I am stuck here maybe it is supposed to be, but I want to be sure. Millions of lives depend on it. We can be friends and I can write letters and stuff” he said feeling a little sad himself. He looked around and realized they were in the study.
Lady Clara pointed to the shelf, “What are you looking for?” she asked, “I spent some time looking through them when I was younger. Father said it was only natural to be curious about such things” she paused and sighed, “Thank you for your honesty. Most men think it wise to tell me lies to earn my favor. It does make this all the more heartbreaking, knowing you are an upright man”, she said sadly. The situation was cruelty even hell would not inflict on its worst inmate
He patted her on the shoulder gently, “Yeah I know, I never really felt attraction to anyone till I met you”, he looked at the grandfather clock in the corner, “Anyway, I am looking for information on a sword, a cursed masonic blade, well I need to verify it is cursed”
Lady Clara scanned the shelf, “I remember my father saying he had encountered something like that in his travels With Lord Caligula. He never told me what he was doing there”, she pulled a leather-bound book off the shelf and dusted it off, “This was his journal from that particular trip”, she said holding it out for him.
Paging through the book, Lord Schafer had superb and clear handwriting, he was grateful. He used to edit essays for a friend in school, and it looked like a chicken had walked over the page in ink.
He finally found what Lady Clara mentioned, “The Cursed Blade of Malcom Crenshaw, the inscription was intended to trap a spirit and the blade was to act like a battery for a machine. Unfortunately it trapped a malevolent being, and the object became cursed. The last four owners have died in tragic accidents”, He sighed as he stared into the affectionate emeralds of Lady Clara, “Can I take this with me?”, he asked
Lady Clara nodded, “Yes...Parting is such sweet sorrow, doubly for us given the grim circumstance...”, She trailed off, “You will need a place to bring these evil beings correct?” she asked, suddenly struck by inspiration.
Silverbolt nodded, “Yes that would be correct, what are you thinking?” he asked, wondering what had her so excited.
“What if I were to help? I could look through my father's books to find wards against evil, and find a way to trap the spirits here until we could vanquish the foul denizens of the void. If I cannot be with you, I will do my best to help you”, she said with such resolve, that caused Silverbolts heart to break at what could not be, for it rivaled his own determination.
He nodded, trying to hide his dissatisfaction, “An excellent idea”, he paused, “I promise if the trip to this time was one way...”, he was interrupted as her fingers pressed against the mask.
“Let us move to action now, no more dwelling on what could be, go now to meet with your companions,” she said looking at him in that affectionate way, “I shall await you all, tell Mr. Steele I said hi,” she said.
He hopped on Deadhooves and headed back towards to the Sam Steele Cafe. It is funny how our little secrets can get the better of us, especially when they fall at the feet of those we have spurned. This is exactly what happened as Silverbolt, leapt onto his great scarred mount. His smartphone clattered to the ground, at the feet of the gardener. Who eyed it suspiciously.
He examined it, and pressed the power button, imagine his surprise when the date read “July, 5th, 2018”, on the display. He supplemented his income by feeding Mr. Alexander information about the various nobles. This was worth its weight in gold and then some.
Sam Steele Cafe...
Silverbolt could not find his smartphone, it was not in his duster, or in the pocket of his armor, and it was not outside. It was going to have to wait, nightfall was approaching and the horrors of the night would once again reveal themselves. He also did not wish to worry his companions either, it was a terrible bind he was in. He just hoped it landed someplace out of sight, where no one would find it. He would soon find out how wrong he was. However that is a story for another time.